Wednesday, 25 April 2018

MPOV: Once And Always (Sequels #1)

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.21/5

First published: 1987
Author: Judith McNaught
Genre: historical romance, romance fiction

Once and Always, one of Judith McNaught's most masterful and moving love stories, powerfully brings to life the fiery passion of a free-spirited American beauty and a troubled English lord.

Suddenly orphaned and alone, Victoria Seaton sails the vast ocean, eager to reclaim her heritage at Wakefield, the sumptuous English estate of a distant cousin, the notorious Lord Jason Fielding. Bewildered by his arrogance yet drawn to his panther-like grace, she senses the painful memories that smolder in his eyes. When he gathers her at last into his arms, arousing a sweet, insistent hunger, they wed and are embraced by fierce, consuming joy -- free from the past's cruel grasp. Then, in a moment of anguish, Victoria discovers the treachery at the heart of their love . . . a love she had dreamed would triumph not just once, but always.

The above taken from Goodreads.

When I first read this many moons ago, I remembered I had a tingling warmth feeling after finishing it though I can't recall the story at all. Since there is going to be a discussion on this book with fellow book club members so I've reread it and lo and behold, it still gives me the same effect once I've finished the book!

Thanks to Goodreads, I now know this is a trilogy! After Once And Always, the Sequels trilogy also consisted of Something Wonderful and Almost Heaven! I used to have all 3 books in my collection and I have since sold it all off! Now I did feel a pang of sadness as the cover I had was limited, published by Corgi Books... le sigh!

Anyway, back to this book. When it started off, it was slow paced with lengthy intro and self-discovery. The middle part was lively as it was adventurous and humorous. The 'happy ever after' ending, though predictable, was kinda rushed though.

Of course, for historical romance, the plots were sort of similar, uniformed with predictable endings. The only twist would be the background, how they would meet and court plus when they would consume their relationship, etc. The tons will wag their tongues, etc to add weight and drama LOL! A standard format for most historical or regency romance fiction hence we sort of know the 'happy ever after' always!

Well, this book is no different but I did enjoy that warmth feeling once I've finished the book. Such 'happy ever after' always never fails to brighten up the mood and leaving me wanting for more! Well, I just have to stop it there, savouring that wonderful feeling LOL! Anyway, I'm sharing this paragraph which I loved when Captain Ferrell was revealing Jason's secret to Victoria:
Captain Ferrell

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

MPOV: Kampong Kravers

My rating: 3/5
Location: C19, Concourse Floor, Atria Shopping Gallery
Type: Halal, local favourites

We were stuck at The Atria the other night due to the heavy rain and bad traffic jam after collecting my reading glasses so we decided to have dinner here. We were out of options so in the end we've tried this shop as I was kinda craving for rendang LOL!

First impression was friendly, knowledgeable staff with prompt service! Aside from the quiet ambience, we noticed many customers tapau (packed) their curry puffs! So... their star product is the small dainty dessert!
Nasi Lemak Rendang set RM14.90; Nasi Lemak Ayam Berempah set RM16.90
We've ordered the Nasi Lemak with Ayam Rendang set and Nasi Lemak with Ayam Berempah set. My ayam rendang was tender, soft with nice rendang broth. Hub's ayam berempah, though tasty with spices, was a little overcooked and dry. We suspected it's due to them microwaving it before serving us as the rice was a little overheated with some unwarranted taste. Luckily there's the spicy sambal to cover it. Overall, it was a simple and filling dinner lah.
Total bill was RM31.80 where each sets do come with a glass of drink and a piece of curry puff. Their advert claimed no added MSG which I concurred as I wasn't thirsty after that, thankfully! This is definitely suitable for a quick meal ala fast food type, hassle free yet fulfilling.

Monday, 23 April 2018

MPOV: The Time Traveler's Wife

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 3.95/5

First published: 2003
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Genre: romance, fiction, sci-fi, fantasy

An epic love story of a time traveler, Henry, and a artist, Clare, who have to endure so many challenges, so many hurdles just to be together, if not forever. From the moment they met, when Clare was 6 and Henry was 36, they have been fated to eventually be married. However, the path to the end in mind took a lot of grooming by Henry, preparing Clare for the future with the eventual that Clare will lead Henry when they meet in their current time.

Henry's unpredictable disappearance, he is not able to plan his time travelling nor bring anything along, has cost him many difficulties everywhere he goes especially when he'll end up buck naked in the past or the future. Such a sad way to time travel especially when he returned to his current time naked in the middle of the library!

Clare has the notion that Henry is her soulmate from day 1 and has been preparing for the day she'll meet the current Henry. Together with her best friend, Charisse and her husband Gomez (who is secretly in love with Clare), Clare was able to overcome the many obstacles and hindrance faced with Henry's off and on persona.
Henry says, "Whatever happens, we both know that I live to be at least 43. So don't worry about it."
Their undying love made this whole book so sadly beautiful! Especially since they sort of knew when Henry would die (as hinted above), their difficulty of having a baby and the many miscarriages before succeeding with Alba, their irregular lifestyle. They have gone through it all, just because they wanted to live a normal life. And when Alba appears (as per below quote), it sort of made the whole story complete!
He's a CDP, like me. Oh shit. You time travel!
To be honest, I nearly bailed at the start of the book as, though the story goes back and forth with either Henry or Clare's views efficiently non-stop, it was really frustrating and annoying not having the plots clearly defined plus kinda dragging at times. After some encouragements from my book club members, I've finally prevailed and finished it! Definitely a worthwhile effort to grasps and embrace the story plus now I understand the necessary back and forth. It was indeed well written with clarity or it would have been a messy plot ya!

There was a glitch though, not sure if it was intentional, from page 10 and 18 where Henry mentioned his door locks. At first, it was 17 locks then 37 and then it became 107 locks! I wonder why...

Highlighting this quote just because it mentioned a book which is currently popular:
When I open the door, I find Henry supine on my bed reading A Wrinkle in Time.
Some new words:
Hejiras - an Arabic word meaning emigration or flight
Slovenly - untidy and dirty; careless
Enmeshed - cause to become entangled in something
Loving this letter from Henry to Clare towards the end
After I've finished reading this book, it has left me with a melancholic feeling. That ending, though sad with a tinge of hope, does feel hollow and harrowing. Having to bring up Alba on her own while yearning for Henry to come and visit her, Clare sure is a very strong and brave woman from the start till the end. Gosh it was truly hard to finish it especially in the commute, trying to hold back my tears!

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Bangkok: Arrival - Day 1

Happiness is when I've finally strike off my Bangkok wish-list after this recent trip! I've been to Bangkok numerous times and yet missed out going to some of the places high on my list. It's either I was not nearby or I don't have enough time or it's closed. So this time around, we made sure we've covered it for once and for all!

We've arrived very late on Saturday night. In fact, our flight was delayed twice! Air Asia, you really need to buck up as being delayed twice was not fun ya especially since it's a night flight. I understand that you are a budget airline and all so changing the flight the first time was fine since I was informed in advance but not being delayed a second time when I'm already at the airport! I spent half a day at the airport for nothing when I could have been in Bangkok, resting at the hotel! Le sigh!!!

Anyway, all was well after boarding the flight and arriving at Bangkok though the queue for taxi was longer than usual, peak hour perhaps. This time around, we've chosen to stay at Sukhumvit, thinking it's nearer to town and BTS stations. Well, it was nearer but our hotel was kinda far. We were staying at Marvel Hotel and we didn't realised the walking distance to be that far. There were pros and cons...

  • Fortunately, we could walk more while playing Pokemon Go and Dasa Book Cafe (1 on my wish-list) is just 15 mins walk away!
  • Unfortunately, we have to walk about 15 mins to the nearest BTS station so when it rained, we were drenched!
Well, enough of my rants and here are a few photos of day 1 - arrival LOL!
My travel re-read - Judith McNaught's Once and Always
Time well spent reading my e-book while waiting and waiting for our flight!

Marvel Hotel's toilettries
The only photo I've taken of the hotel as it was a little run down, dated, nothing to shout about.
Our dinner was a 5 mins walk from hotel!
Fried noodles for dinner which was a 5 mins walk from our hotel, by the roadside ya! In fact, there were many roadside stalls so you can explore but we were too famished to so we've just gone for the first one we saw. Both plates of noodles came up to Baht 140, not cheap even for a roadside stall. Probably due to the area being a tourist haunt. Thankfully it tasted fine and fulfilling.
Next post: Chatuchak Park and Market!

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Post-mortem: my first crochet workshop

I definitely have a long way to go... to learn... to practice... to preach...

As some of you were aware, I just had my first crochet workshop last Saturday. As it turned out, I was a little too ambitious having the feather bookmark as the subject matter, thinking that even beginners are able to grasp it soonest. Sooo... I was very wrong. I assumed that everyone would be able to learn crochet easily and able to finish at least half but in reality it was the opposite. Sigh!

After receiving and dissecting all the feedback, here's a summary of my learning curve:
1. I should have concentrated more and reiterated on the hook and stitches. As highlighted by Ai Jou, muscle memory is important for crochet. Hubs also shared the same concern where more practice is required for the basic stitches before perusing the pattern
2. The need to categorise the workshop i.e. basic, intermediate and advance. Not everyone is born the same so different level should have different expectation
3. A proper step by step plus a simpler pattern would have helped instead of this, now I felt, complicated one.
4. A much longer time required especially to have better practice of the basic stitches before perusing the pattern
5. A smaller group instead of a big one, max 6 pax would have sufficed.
6. Should have a proper YouTube video made for the students too

As a first timer, it sure hits hard but I gotta learn from it and not cry wolf. Sad that it did not panned out like how I would have liked but I am so glad that these 9 wonderful ladies were so supportive! So much encouragement and kind words truly made my day! I definitely looked forward to many more workshops with a much better curricular! So I've lots of homework to do, more Googling and hopefully, the next one is a success!

After much rant, here are some of the fabulous photos taken during the workshop! Thanks hubs!!!
A panorama of the cool Lit Books!
All in full concentration!

Enthusiastic ladies!
At the end of the day, I'm so glad I do have a student who finished her bookmark! Tung, thank you so much for your due diligence and tenacity to finish it! Congratulations!

A much heartfelt gratitude and thanks to Lit Books for the wonderful tea set and comfortable ambience.

Last but not least, thank you so much to the 9 ladies for having faith in me and joining my first workshop. It will not be my last but rest assured, I have taken all your feedback into consideration for future workshops ya!

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

MPOV: Rampage

My rating: 3.5/5
IMDb rating: 6.4/10

Released: April 12, 2018
Director: Brad Peyton
Casts: Dwayne Johnson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Breanne Hill, Naomie Harris
Rated: PG-13 (However, in Malaysia, such rating is pointless as there were many noisy toddlers and children in the cinema)

Athena-1, a research station owned by gene manipulation company Energyne, is destroyed after a laboratory rat mutates and wreaks havoc. A crew member, Dr Kerry Atkins, is ordered to retrieve research canisters containing a pathogen by CEO Claire Wyden. Atkins is able to flee in the escape pod, but it disintegrates upon reentry, killing her and leaving a trail of debris across the United States, including the Everglades, where a canister is consumed by a crocodile, and a forest in Wyoming, where a wolf is exposed to the pathogen.

Primatologist Davis Okoye, a former US military soldier and member of an anti-poaching unit, is a primatologist in a San Diego wildlife preserve. He befriends a rare albino gorilla named George, whom he saved from poachers. One night, as Davis drives home from work, one of the canisters crash lands in George's habitat. George is exposed to the pathogen when he checks it out.

George grows considerably larger and aggressive overnight. Davis is contacted by Dr. Kate Caldwell, a genetic engineer who explains that the pathogen was developed by Energyne to rewrite genes on a massive scale. She had hoped to advance CRISPR research as a potential cure for disease, but discovered that Energyne planned to use it as a biological weapon. The company fired her and sent her to prison for attempting to expose them. George escapes from captivity and goes on a rampage at the preserve. Davis calms him down but George is captured by a government team led by Agent Harvey Russell, and is put on a plane. Meanwhile, Claire and her brother Brett send a squad of mercenaries led by Burke to capture the mutated wolf, Ralph, but they are all killed.

The above was taken from Wikipedia.

Overall, it's thin plotted but action-packed with especially cool CGI! Truly entertaining and engaging from the start to the end. I so loved George and his cheeky little antics! Love-able yet scary at the same time! The casts were well rounded with The Rock being in the lead as usual though Agent Russell does take the cake for being the 'silent killer'! A movie worth watching at the cinema for the obvious reasons lah!

Monday, 16 April 2018

Crochet: Fish bookmark

Well, I got lazy with this LOL! It's supposed to be a birdy bookmark, pattern from below:

However, I didn't have felt in hand so I've shaped it into a fish LOL! So now it's a fish bookmark :-)
What I've used:
  • 100% acrylic yarns
  • Large paper clip
  • Fibrefilling

Friday, 13 April 2018

CSM: Crochet feather bookmark workshop this Saturday!

Finally, my first crochet workshop! *syiok sendiri*

I'm actually nervous so I do hope I don't start stuttering while teaching the fine ladies to crochet this feather bookmark! *fingers crossed*

Though it's a closed door workshop at Lit Books tomorrow afternoon, I just want to share that if I do survive it, I'll want to make this a permanent workshop with more classes and different products for the public either in a group or one-to-one :-)

Thank you to all who have supported me through the years! Fully appreciate it! *bowing*


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